Tell the Federal and B.C. Provincial Government to end the practice of open-pen finfish aquaculture.
To: : The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson (Minister of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans), British Columbia Premier John Horgan
I urge you to end the practice of open-pen finfish aquaculture. Open-pen finfish aquaculture alters important aquatic habitats and significantly affects native populations of wild salmon and other wildlife. These effects may put the survival of Pacific salmon species at risk.
Open-pen finfish operations attract predators such as seals and birds, thereby altering their natural behaviour and putting them at risk of becoming injured in nets and equipment. Large-scale escapes from these operations have occurred and have raised havoc for wild populations, risking the establishment of non-native species such as Atlantic Salmon. There are also several diseases and parasites that salmon held in open-pen operations can contract and transfer to wild fish like bacterial kidney disease, infectious haematopoietic necrosis and infectious salmon anaemia.
I realize that the aquaculture industry creates economic benefits. However, because of its significant impact on wildlife, I would like to see the practice of open-pen finfish aquaculture in Canada phased out over the next four years to end the negative impacts on wild fish species. In the meantime, I believe it’s imperative that no more open-pen finfish aquaculture operations be established in Canada.
There are other economically viable practices that would still be cost effective, like closed circulation systems inland. These require a capital investment to build, but once the money is invested, there are well-established returns on that investment. Moreover, there are species, like the Rainbow Trout, that are already raised in closed circulation systems inland in Canada. Much of the Rainbow Trout in Canada are raised in this sustainable and harmless environment. I urge you to use the same technology exclusively with salmon.
Please consider ending open-pen finfish aquaculture so we can save our wild populations.